Hidden Tools & Features of Google Chrome
Undoubtedly, Chrome is the most popular browser in the world. Google has been bringing a lot of new features to improve user experience on Chrome desktop and Chrome mobile platforms. There are a number of great Chrome features that not many people are aware of. Here are nine of these hidden tools and features you should check out on Chrome:
#9. Parallel Downloading
We have all faced errors while downloading large files in Chrome at one point. There is a setting in Chrome that does not necessarily fix the issue but it does accelerate downloads in Chrome.
This setting can be found in Chrome’s Flags page where you can discover all the experimental features in Chrome. Once you’re in the Chrome Flags page, just search for Parallel Downloading in the “Search Flags” search box. Enable it and click the “Re-launch Now” button on the bottom right.
What this does is allow Chrome to create three parallel jobs to download a file. This then accelerates the download speed significantly. This setting will prove to be handy when downloading large files. The great thing is that parallel downloading is available for desktop and mobile platform.
#8. Automatic Tab Discarding
We all know Chrome is a resource hog especially when you open up a lot of tabs. In the Chrome Flags, there is an automatic tab discarding option which you should enable if your PC isn’t able to handle so many Chrome tabs.
As the name suggests, automatic tab discarding automatically kills tabs based on preference. If there’s a tab you haven’t opened up for a long time and your system is running out resources, Chrome will kill it to save memory. When you go back to that tab, the page will be reloaded.
This is a great solution for those who want to open up a lot of tabs while also wanting smooth performance in Chrome.
#7. DuckDuckGo Over Google
If you’re someone who always wants to use a more privacy-friendly search engine instead of Google in Chrome, then you might want to try this out. With the Chrome 73 stable release, you now have the option to choose DuckDuckGo as a default search engine in Chrome.
Just head to Chrome settings and scroll down to “Search Engine” options. Change the search engine used in the address bar to DuckDuckGo and you can be able to search in Chrome using DuckDuckGo as the default search engine for your privacy needs.
It does not track users, save search results and prioritizes user privacy over everything. It’s not as great as Google but if you care about your search privacy, DuckDuckGo is your best pick.
#6. Drive Files Via Omnibox
The Omnibox or address bar in Chrome is one of the most powerful features of Chrome. With so many features released, it is only getting better. There’s an option to access files on Drive simply via the Omnibox.
You can search for files by owner name or search for files based on the type. To enable it, go to Chrome flags and search for “Omnibox Google Drive Document Suggestions” and enable it. Once done, you should be able to search for Drive files through the Omnibox.
Note that this only searches files available in the account you have logged into Chrome with.
#5. Shortcuts for Extensions
There are a lot of extensions on the Chrome Web Store that really enhance the Chrome experience. What if you could access these extensions using a keyboard shortcut?
All you have to do is go to the extensions page by clicking the three dots on the top-right of the Chrome web page. Go to more tools and select the “Extensions” button. Once there, click the three bars on the top-left of the web age next to “Extensions” and select “Keyboard Shortcuts” on the sliding menu.
From there, you can assign each keyboard shortcuts you want. For instance, you can set “Ctrl + W” as your VPN extension shortcut, or “Ctrl + Q” as your Download Manager extension.
#4. Chrome Duet
For Chrome, Android users, accessing the address bar, tabs bar or menu button from the top bar in Chrome mobile using a smartphone is difficult. Chrome has a new UI that you can enable that fixes all these issues.
From Chrome flags, just search for “Chrome Duet” and enable it. When you re-launch Chrome, you will see a new bar at the bottom which brings everything you need. There’s a ‘Home button’, ‘Share button’, ‘Search button’ so that you don’t have to go all the way to the top, the ‘Tabs button’ to quickly switch to multiple tabs, and the ‘Three-dot menu button’. This makes it more user-friendly.
#3. Functional Tab Switcher
Chrome has had different types of tab switchers. There are the usual tab switchers and the horizontal tab switchers available to Chrome flags. However, if you want a more functional tab switcher, there’s the accessibility tab switcher.
Just head to chrome flags and search for “Accessibility Tab Switcher” and enable it. It may not be the most appealing like the horizontal tab switcher but it is certainly most functional.
#2. HDR Mode
HDR (High Dynamic Range) allows for higher contrast and more vivid colours. It’s been in TVs for a while and more recently, there’s been an increase in computer monitors being produced that support HDR.
If you own an HDR-supported display, head to Chrome flags, search “HDR” and enable the mode.
#1. Close Tabs Faster
A lot of users have complained that chrome is sluggish when multiple tabs are open. Head to Chrome flags and search for “Fast Tab/Window Close”. Enable it and you’ll notice how fast it will close when multiple tabs will be open.